Monday, November 30, 2015         


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Prostitution, prisoners and pay cuts dominate news

By David Shapiro


Another Fourth of July is upon us, and what better way to honor our country than to carry forward the cherished American tradition of making fun of politicians with our "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

» A new law signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie makes the habitual solicitation of prostitution a Class C felony. That's going to make it awfully hard to raise money for political campaigns.

» The law also cracks down on sex for pay within 750 feet of a public park or school. Homeless people complained that hookers were impeding their access to parks and sidewalks.

» Another new state law that took effect this week bans the sale or distribution of shark fin soup and other products containing shark fin. Our legislators were the first in the nation to stand up for animal rights, ocean conservation and professional courtesy.

» The state is promoting the iConserve Energy initiative, asking workers to go green at the Capitol and nine other public facilities. It's amazing what an energy difference it can make if state employees remember before they go home to shut down their computers, turn off the lights and make sure Abercrombie gets his Geritol.

» Public school teachers face a 5 percent pay cut after the state ended negotiations and imposed its "last, best and final offer." We'll see. The first thing I learned in kindergarten is that teacher always gets the last, best and final word.

» Four prisoners caught a day after escaping from the Waiawa Correctional Facility will likely have more years added to their terms. It's the same deal our elected officials get: They behave badly and we give them another term.

» The City Council overrode Mayor Peter Carlisle's veto and reinstated tipping fee subsidies for recyclers at the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, giving in to intense lobbying by Schnitzer Steel. I hope those discussions didn't take place within 750 feet of a school.

» Police confiscated two illegal lizards that were found living in the bedroom of a Halawa apartment. After giving the reptiles a checkup, zoologists plan to reunite them with the legal lizards at the City Council.

» U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said she intends to compete everywhere for the Republican presidential nomination, including in Hawaii. If she wants to observe the local culture, she'll have to forget the tea party and throw a beer bust.

And the quote of the week … from Rep. Mazie Hirono on her endorsement for the U.S. Senate by the pro-choice EMILY's List: "E-M-I-L-Y's List stands for ‘Early Money Is Like Yeast.' Why? Because early campaign funding helps the ‘dough' rise." It appeals to donors who think it smells better to buy politicians from a bake sale than a cattle auction.

David Shapiro can be reached at or

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